Couldn’t write today, so this post comes from my files… It was written about two years ago, when I was given LOSS as a writing start.
Probably the ‘purest’ loss experience in my life is still my sister Amy. The void that was left behind was so new, so absolute, so complete. She was there, so very there, and I’m tempted to say, ‘there for me’ although there was no conscious giving by her to me. But she was reliably there.
Wake up, Amy is there to cuddle, to touch and smell and care for… Come home from school and she was there, to cuddle, touch, smell and care for. It didn’t matter if I felt alone at school, if I was feeling lost, lonely or ‘other’ when I was out in the world. Amy was there for me. It didn’t matter if my mother was tense or unhappy, if the atmosphere at home seemed airless and tight, Amy was there to hold.
I didn’t have to work to please her, to constantly strive, trying to be ‘good’, or smart or helpful or edit my thoughts and hide my feelings. I was not on display, to be judged and measured and, inevitably feel inferior. Amy was there for me.
So the hollow space that I experienced when she was gone seemed huge and then it seemed to be expanding. In a way, the rest of my life, which really was my life and had been, but was held together by the safety of Amy being there, it all drifted away, quietly shattered and disappeared. Without that comfort zone, the pressure built: adolescence, academics, family drama and I shuffled along in it and through it. Pretense was the norm, so I got fairly proficient as a pretender. Took my performance cues from any voice that spoke, from Seventeen Magazine to my hater grandfather.
I heard no inner voice until the day Richard Nixon’s helicopter landed in our high school soccer field. That was a seismic shift and another story. But the big, big hole that losing Amy created has been replicated with each significant loss over the years. My hope now is that I can be there for myself, to keep the void from expanding each time, because the struggle to get back to a solid form is exhausting.